KANSAS CITY, Mo. — With just six months to go before the new terminal at KCI is scheduled to open to the public in March 2023, officials say the $1.5 billion project is on schedule and on budget.

That means it would open in early March right before the Big 12 Tournament in March and NFL Draft in April.

The new building is not only a state-of-the-art building but also tries to address some of the logistical challenges of the existing terminals.

“One of the things that’s been really difficult for us welcoming a large city-wide convention is there are like nine places where people come in the existing terminals,” said Deputy Director of Aviation Justin Meyer.

That’s why he says the new arrival and departure areas of the new, single terminal will just make a lot more sense. Departing and arriving travelers will be on different levels, so they don’t cross paths like they do right now. New technology, like large digital boards, will welcome passengers in a more modern way.

“When it comes to the Big 12 Tournament and the NFL Draft, we’ll be able to engage digitally in ways that we haven’t been able to before,” said Meyer.

For people inside the terminal, Soiree Steak and Oyster House Chef and Owner Anita Moore said she’s bringing 18th and Vine to Concourse A.

“I just want to bring a little bit of the jazz district to our arriving patrons that come in,” said Moore.

She’s part of the 80 percent of the 50 vendors inside the terminal that are local to Kansas City, with an eye towards including groups that have historically been left out of these kind of investment projects.

“Just putting a black-owned business, woman-owned business in the front of everything has been a very humbling and amazing experience,” said Moore.

The hope is that better amenities and more space for travelers, not to mention more space for incoming and departing airlines, might entice more flights and additional routes. Meyer says KCI has never stopped trying to get a trans-Atlantic flight since the Iceland Air route shut down in 2019, but the new building can’t hurt.

Staffing up to fill all the newly opened positions could be a challenge with unemployment in the United States as low as 3.7% in August of 2022. Officials say they’ll hold job events closer to the end of the year to make sure each vendor has enough employees.

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